Ca’ d’Oro – 15th Century Venice’s Golden House

by Jill Kammer

The Golden House which is located in Venice is known for some of the most outstanding works of architecture in the area. The city is well renowned for this, and their claim to fame is truly deserved.

Venice enjoyed influences from the Middle East as well as throughout the continent when it comes to trade. Being a main European trade center, this has affected Venice’s architecture among other things, helping to make it a top cosmopolitan city.

Ca’ d’Oro sits beside the Grand Canal which is known as the main waterway for the city. Constructed during the 15th century, the home was inhabited by the Contarini family after 1430 who were a quasi-noble and well known family. Between 1043 and 1676, the Contarini family gave eight of their own as doges to Venice.

In Venetian Gothic style, the white and pink facade once displayed gold leafing which gave the building its name. It’s complete with arches styled after the Byzantine era, and posts carved with capitals, which don’t much resemble the Greek. Giovanni Bon created what resembles floral designs, and is considered to be a noted architect of the time period.

Located in the colonnaded loggia accessible on the canal level, is the entrance to the premises. An astounding balcony located above the entrance is just outside the upper floor art gallery. With the gorgeous view outside, many are awe stricken when they find the view inside is even more impressive.

A sense of peace can be found outside of the bustling city at the inner courtyard, as long as it’s not at a time when many visitors are crowding the area. The Vera di pozzo, known also as the wellhead, is an interesting sight to enjoy when relaxing in the courtyard.

In one room, you can find Flemish tapestries from the 16th century. In another room close by, a collection of bronzes that stem from times between the 12th and 16th centuries can be explored. Throughout all the rooms, plenty of furniture from almost every time period can be enjoyed.

Paintings fabulous enough to compete with those found in the Gallerie dell’ Accademia can be found here in the gallery. “San Sebastiano” and “Venus at the Mirror” by Titan are displayed, along with other paintings by well known artists such as Carpaccio and Tintoretto. The Dutch even landed in Venice, thanks to the works of Van Dyke and Jan Steen.

The Grand Canal in all its glory can be seen from the balcony outside, where breathtaking views abound. The Quatrefoil windows display intricate carvings worth taking a look at, so get close and personal when taking in all the sights on the balcony. Located on the second floor, the polychrome marble incrustations on the balcony should not be overlooked.

Easy access from this loggia to a small room grants sights of invaluable ceramics. These include kitchenware – cups and plates – all which would impress even the richest in Venice during the 15th century.

The Gold House in Ca’ d’Oro won’t disappoint those looking for a treasure in Venice.

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